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WICHITA, Kan. — The Montana Grizzlies got some new shoes during their first day of stepping foot on Kansas soil.

Making their trip to Wichita, Kansas, for the NCAA tournament, the Griz were given special shoes from Nike — Montana is a Nike school — to congratulate them on making the tournament. Players got to choose between Kobe Bryant, Paul George and Kyrie Irving shoes — designs which have yet to be released to the public for sale.

In addition to those freebies, Montana’s first day on its trip to the NCAA tournament included farewells, film review and a visit to a local YMCA.

The Griz left Tuesday morning for their first-round game against third-seeded Michigan, champions of the Big Ten tournament, 7:50 p.m. Thursday at Intrust Bank Arena.

They were sent off by fans and students with University of Montana president Seth Bodnar in attendance early this morning at the Adams Center. They took a charter flight to Wichita, known as the Air Capital of the World, and The Emerald City.

They landed around 12:30 p.m. local time and checked into their hotel to a barrage of maroon, silver and white balloons, and with cheers from the hotel staff.

In addition to the shoes, Nike also gave the Griz shirts to wear while shooting around and warming up. The shirts will feature a motto Montana has relied on this season: “Compete with desperation.”

Before leaving the hotel, the Griz reviewed their scout of the Wolverines and watched dozens of clips of Michigan from this season.

They then immediately headed out for a late-afternoon practice at the Farha Sport Center, approximately 15 minutes from their hotel in Andover, Kansas. The facility resides on a large YMCA compound that features numerous buildings with workout facilities, yoga studios, a gymnastics area and much more, as well as outdoor athletic fields.

There, several players tried out their new shoes as they went through a walkthrough and ran drills. During the latter, assistant coach Rachi Wortham stepped up to draw a charge against Karl Nicholas.

The Griz returned to their hotel afterward to wind down for the night, awaiting their next step.

Frank Gogola covers Montana Grizzlies men's basketball for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at Frank.Gogola@406mtsports.com.

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